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IP Lexicon

Related rights

The law of July 3, 1985 n°85-660 introduces the neighboring rights in the French law.

Neighboring rights are listed in Book II of the first part of the Intellectual Property Code, under articles L.211-1 to L.216-1.

In addition, general provisions of Book III also concern related rights (private copy, collecting societies and distribution of rights).

The right of the producers of databases has been inserted in the articles L.341-1 to L.343-4 of the Intellectual Property Code.

In France, neighboring rights are exclusive rights, notably to performers, producers of phonograms and videograms, audiovisual communication companies, publishers and press agencies.

Although related rights are also part of the field of literary and artistic property , they are exercised independently of the copyright on the works.

Indeed, the protection conferred by neighbouring rights is distinct from that conferred by authors’ rights and is exercised without prejudice to these rights.

The prerogatives granted by the law to performers, producers of phonograms and videograms, audiovisual communication companies, publishers and press agencies are comparable to those granted to authors.

Owners of related rights have an exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the use and exploitation of their performance and to receive remuneration for it.

Thus, the exploitation of a work protected by neighboring rights can be challenged by the rights holder if his authorization was not given beforehand.

However, provisions relating to moral rights are only provided for performers.

Thus, it is expressly provided that ” The performer has the right to the respect of his name, his quality and his interpretation.” (article
L.212-2 of the Intellectual Property Code

The performer therefore has a right of authorship over the work, and respect for its integrity.

The rights of press publishers and press agencies resulting from article L.218-2 of the Intellectual Property Code can be transferred or licensed.

The legal protection conferred by neighboring rights is temporary.

The term of protection of neighbouring rights is in principle fifty years from January 1 of the calendar year:

  • Following the one of the interpretation of the work for the performers ;
  • Following the first fixation of a sound sequence, for producers of phonograms ;
  • Following the first fixation of a sequence of images, with or without sound, for producers of videograms ;
  • Following the first communication to the public of programs for audiovisual communication companies.

The duration of the economic rights of press publishers and press agencies is two years from January1 of the calendar year following that of the first publication of a press publication.

Point of jurisprudence

The French Competition Authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) has considered that Google had not negotiated in good faith the remuneration due to publishers and press agencies for related rights (Autorité de la Concurrence, decision n° 21-D-17 of July 12, 2021).

Google was fined €500 million for non-compliance with this injunction which was ordered by the Authority on April 9, 2020 (Autorité de la concurrence, decision n°20-MC-01 of April 9, 2020).

In particular, Google was criticized for unjustifiably restricting the scope of the negotiation, notably by proposing that publishers and news agencies join the Showcase, a new service offered by Google and excluding from the negotiations the organizations that did not justify the IPG (Political and General Information) certification.

While the American giant had appealed the Authority’s first decision in 2020 before the Paris Court of Appeal (in vain, the Court having found in favor of the Authority – Paris Court of Appeal, October 8, 2020, No. 2002/07008 – and no appeal in cassation having been filed), Google does not seem to have appealed this latest decision and proposed several commitments in December 2021.

The Bouchara firm assists you in particular in :

  • Optimizing the protection and management of creations protected by copyright (reproduction rights, representation rights, etc.) and related rights;
  • The contractualization of the neighboring rights in order to foresee in particular the methods relating to the exploitation, the diffusion, the remuneration within the framework of an exploitation contract, a transfer contract etc